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What Is Licorice Syrup?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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Licorice syrup is a thick fluid that is made with licorice. It is sweetened with either sugar or honey in order to make it more palatable and may contain other herbs, depending on the medical use the syrup is intended for. Though not all the purported health effects of licorice have been verified, there are a few medical uses for which licorice syrup is effective. It is commonly used to treat coughing, congestion, and sore throat and may also be used to relieve the symptoms of some gastrointestinal disorders.

In order to make licorice syrup, liquid needs to be extracted from licorice. Depending on which parts of the licorice plant are being used, there are a few different ways to get fluid from them. Fresh plants can be crushed and juiced while dried parts of the plant and seeds may be boiled in water to form a licorice tea. The fluid is usually reduced until it thickens into a syrupy consistency. A sweetener is also added to the syrup, usually while it is still warm so that the sugar dissolves completely.

Once licorice syrup is complete, it has a distinctive licorice flavor. This herb is similar in flavor to the related plants fennel and anise, though it is stronger. Many people enjoy the flavor of licorice but it is strong and unusual, and many other people find it unpalatable.

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One of the main uses for licorice syrup is in the treatment of throat and respiratory disorders. Licorice has demulcent and expectorant properties that make it particularly useful for this. As a demulcent, the herb coats the throat, protecting it from damage caused by coughing and helping to soothe the irritated tissues. The expectorant properties of licorice also help patients cough up fluid in the respiratory tract by loosening it. Respiratory infections clear up more quickly if the fluid can be expelled from the body.

Another use for licorice syrup is in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Ulcers, upset stomach, and acid reflux are often treated with a syrup made from licorice and a number of other herbs, such as chamomile and peppermint. Some patients see improvement from gastrointestinal symptoms with the use of licorice, though medical studies have not proven that it is an effective treatment. Patients should not use licorice syrup without the guidance of a doctor because licorice can also raise blood pressure, especially if it is taken for a long period of time.

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serenesurface
Post 3

My mother used to make my brothers and I drink licorice syrup whenever we were sick growing up. It worked great but I hated the taste. I still can't stand anything that tastes like licorice.

stoneMason
Post 2

@ysmina-- I have not come across licorice syrup for baking but you can make your own fairly easily.

My husband makes homemade candies and he has made licorice candies several times. He makes the syrup himself with licorice extract, sugar and starch. It's quite good.

Plus, this way, you can ensure that there is real licorice in it and not licorice flavoring that is made from aniseed or something else.

ysmina
Post 1

Is it possible to find licorice syrup that's meant to use in baking and candy-making and not as a medicinal remedy? I want to make licorice candies using licorice syrup.

Has anyone come across a product like that?

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